While some isolated humans may be looking forward to the time when they are leaving the home to work and socialise, there are concerns that this could see a rise in separation anxiety amongst the millions of dogs who’ve grown accustomed to their owners’ constant companionship during lockdown.
Whist our feline friends may also suffer from separation distress, it if far less common. In fact, many kitties would welcome more time to themselves as soon as possible!
Dogs experiencing so much more quality time with their families, can become over-dependent on their humans and this can lead to separation distress when mums and dads suddenly return to work and the children go back to school.
Dogs thrive on routine. They feel calmest when life offers consistency and predictability, as we all do, so times of abrupt change can be stressful.
The sudden loss of their doting humans could result in stress-induced behaviours in an attempt to find their owners or deal with anxiety. These include:
Barking, howling, or whining when you leave
Scratching or chewing at entrances and exits (doors/windows) when alone
Destructive behaviour that only happens when alone
Over-grooming or other self-harm or obsessive behaviours
A change in appetite
It is worth collecting video of your pet when they are home alone and pay attention to what they are ‘telling’ you through their body language. Are they coping calmly and munching through a treat whilst resting in their comfy safe place? Or are you seeing distressed behaviours?
Beware the dogs that suffer in silence with more subtle signs of anxiety like panting, pacing, salivating, trembling when alone. Some dogs are so anxious that they don’t eat or drink until their owner returns.
Separation anxiety isn’t just psychologically damaging for the pet. Some dogs attempt to dig and chew through doors or windows, resulting in self-injury, such as broken teeth and damaged paws. Some howl continuously in distress, disturbing all those in earshot.
Separation anxiety in dogs already accounts for a high proportion of pets referred for behaviour consultations, even prior to the current upheavals in routine.
So what can we do now to reduce the risk of our dogs suffering distress when we go back to spending more time away from home?
Allow your pet to have some alone time. You have your space and allow them to have theirs. This should not be a punishing time out. Make this a fun experience where the dog is in another part of the home on a comfortable bed, chewing on a Kong, dental chew or other slow-to-consume tasty treat. Tether the treat to the bed if necessary.
Interactive food release toys can take the place of the food bowl to provide hours of entertainment.
As yummy as they may be, we can’t recommend bones. Vets are often faced with broken teeth, blocked bowels or sad vomiting pooches following access to bones.
Practice training your dog to perform out-of-sight “stays” within the house. Begin a gradual process of using small absences that start to teach the dog that absences are safe.
Abandoning one’s fur babies for even short periods could prove a tall order for the millions who are relying on and even purchasing dogs to keep themselves sane during lockdown. Especially when pets offer such a joyful greeting after any absence. However, it is important to help them through this upheaval and prepare them for staying at home alone in the future.
Above all, provide consistent and predictable routines that you can continue once you return to leaving them at home more. For example, think about your morning and evening routines. How can these remain constant when you go back to working away from home? To minimise change, keep the really good stuff – like exercising with your dog, playing with them and feeding them – to the same schedule that you will manage when you’re back at work. Make the middle part of the day less interactive as that will be the case when you’re not around.
Dog-appeasing pheromone (DAP) and nutraceuticals like Zylkene can help avoid separation anxiety. However, if your dog is already showing signs of separation distress, call us for a discussion and potentially a behaviour consultation to help you manage their anxiety and help them enjoy the peaceful life they deserve.
Firstly, we’d like to thank all of our fantastic clients for the patience and understanding that we’ve been given during these difficult times. From contactless consultations, 2-3 week waiting periods for non urgent appointments and some delays in response times to customer service enquiries. We have continued to be blown away at the good will, patience and kindness of our community in the face of these challenges.
As the restrictions in the ACT begin to relax, we understand that our clients are eager for protocols to return to normal. We too are looking forward to this! As it always has been, the safety of our staff, clients and patients remains our top priority.
We have begun creating a plan that will enable us to stage the relaxation of practice policies without sacrificing the health and safety of our clients or our staff. The first stage involves combining our working teams to ensure that we have sufficient workforce to provide best care to our patients.
Soon we will begin working on the second stage to allow one client per animal in the the consultation room – so long as there are no public health hiccups. Clients will still be required to wait in their cars until we call them and their animal in for their consultation. The waiting room will remain out of action as we cannot provide adequate social distancing in this area. And there will be plenty of hand-sanitiser!
Hall Vet Surgery will remain open for as long as possible to ensure we can care for your furry family members. As always, maintaining the health and safety of our staff, our clients and our patients is our highest priority.
It is yet to be confirmed whether we are considered an essential service, however we will continue to service our community until we are advised otherwise or it is no longer considered safe to do so.
In order to ensure we can continue to help you, we have increased our precautionary measures in the hospital;
If you are arriving for an appointment we ask that you please stay in your vehicle and phone us on 62302223 to notify us of your arrival. DO NOT enter the clinic until a staff member has advised you to enter. We will be minimising the number or people in the waiting room at any given time to ensure we are executing appropriate social distancing in the practice.
We ask that you please limit the number of people attending your appointment to only those that are required to be present, to limit traffic through the practice.
We ask that you pay with card where possible to avoid unnecessary risk associated with handling cash.
If you are experiencing any cold/flu like symptoms please advise us over the phone before booking an appointment. We will still find an appropriate way to help you.
We have lots of ideas in the pipeline, such as contactless consultations, phone consultations and home delivery for essential items such as food and medication. If you are in self isolation or are just looking to decrease your risk/exposure but don’t want to do so at the expense of your pet’s health, please contact us. We will do our best to find a solution for you.
We will continue to adapt with the situation and update advice as we receive it. If we need to make changes to your upcoming appointment, we will contact you directly. Please notify us if you need to update your contact details.
We’d like to thank you all for your cooperation on this. It is a difficult time for all but rest assured we will be doing everything in our power to remain available to assist you and your pets.
Stay safe and look out for each other. Kind regards, from all of us at Hall Vet Surgery.
We have received multiple enquiries recently around the current COVID-19 pandemic and whether companion animals have any relation to it’s spread. The OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) has released the following information on it’s website; “The current spread of COVID-19 is a result of human to human transmission. To date, there is no evidence that companion animals can spread the disease.”
At Hall Vet Surgery the health and safety of our patients, their owners and our staff is our top priority. We want to ensure accessing health care for your animals remains as safe as possible for everyone involved. In the surgery we have ensured that there are hand sanitation stations throughout the clinic for your use, and have ramped up our own hygiene protocols.
We are currently brainstorming alternative solutions for members of our community who may be unwell, in self isolation or are considered high risk, ensuring they are still able to access essential items for their pets such as food and medication. If you fall into this category please contact us via phone on 6230 2223 for more information.
We will continue to monitor the situation closely and follow the guidelines of the Australian Veterinary Association & The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee.
For more information you can contact us on 6230 2223 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Just like us, our pets can suffer from heatstroke. The difference? Our pets are not able to sweat, are covered in fur and rarely sit in an air conditioned office during the day. This means that our pets can’t cool themselves like we can and makes them very susceptible to heatstroke.
Heatstroke is extremely dangerous, causing irreversible damage to your pet’s internal organs including their liver, kidneys, brain and heart. Heatstroke can be fatal if not recognized and treated quickly.
Watch this video for the symptoms, prevention measures and treatment methods that we think all pet owners should know!
Start young and make it positive! Get your new puppy used to examinations and nail trims by gently handling their paws, ears, mouth etc every day. Ensure you make nail trims fun by using rewards (such as food and praise) to keep it positive for your pup!
Enlist a helping hand Having a second person to distract, treat and praise your pup means that you can focus on nail trimming alone and will help to avoid any accidents.
Start slow and finish on a positive note Always stop whilst you’re ahead, if you can sense your pup may be starting to become restless then stop where you are, even if it means that you only do 2 or 3 nails at a time. Always make sure you finish the session on a positive note so that your puppy will have fond memories for the next time the nail trimmers come out.
Cut small Each nail has a blood supply called the ‘quick’. The quick can be visible in some white nails, however it is often invisible in darker colored nails. Clipping the nails too far back can result in cutting the quick, which is painful for your pup and results in a bleeding nail. We recommend only cutting 2mm or so off the end of each nail at a time, some dogs who haven’t had their nails trimmed in a long time can have quite a long quick so always cut small to begin with.
Accidents happen, have styptic powder ready Whilst you will try your best not to cut the quick sometimes accidents happen! In the case that one of the nails is bleeding, dabbing a cotton bud into styptic powder and applying this to the end of the nail will form a clot to stop the bleeding. It is a good idea to have styptic powder on hand and ready whenever you are trimming your dogs nails, cornflour will also do the trick as a substitute if you are stuck.
Don’t forget the dew claw Most dogs are born with dew claws on their front legs (and some even have them on their hind legs too!). These claws are located higher up on the inside of the leg leg, almost like a thumb nail. Often these nails need trimming the most as they don’t come into contact with the ground and therefore don’t get worn down by walking on concrete and other hard surfaces.
If in doubt, give us a shout! If you don’t feel comfortable or confident trimming your dogs nails, give us a call. Our nurses trim nails every single day and know all the tricks in the book 🙂 Their are also many helping hands here to feed treats and distract your pup to make it a better experience for them. Give us a call on 6230 2223 to make an appointment.
Spring and Summer encompass fun outdoor times for many Australian families and their canine companions. Unfortunately with beautiful weather and rapid growth of vegetation comes grass seeds. These little suckers can cause lots of pain and suffering to our pets and their owners, they have a sharp tip enabling them to pierce the skin easily and can migrate through the body often bringing infection with them.
At Hall Vet Surgery the most common places we find grass seeds caught are in ear canals, in between toes, up nostrils, in eyelids, underneath skin in various parts of the body and lodged in the vulva/penis.
Below are a list of symptoms, possible complications and what to do/not to do depending on the location of the grass seed.
Symptoms: A grass seed in the ear might make your dog shake their head, cry out in pain, hold their head to one side or scratch at their ear. Potential Complications: Grass seeds lodged in the ear canal can cause ear infection, rupture of the ear drum, loss of hearing or balance and even death if infection reaches the brain. What to do: Ring your vet to make an appointment as soon as possible. What not to do: DO NOT try to remove the grass seed yourself, the ear is likely to be very painful and sensitive and if your pets moves their head suddenly you could severely damage their ear drum. Do not put any ear cleanser down the ear, if there is a grass seed present you will push it closer to the ear drum making it more difficult and hazardous to remove.
Symptoms: A grass seed caught in your dog’s paw may cause a red, swollen and discharging lump on the paw, your dog may limp or lick/chew at their paw constantly. Potential Complications: Infection, migration of the grass seed into leg and possibly in between ligaments or tendons. What to do: Ring your vet to make an appointment. Keep area clean with warm salty water and where possible restrain your dog from licking – this can actually push the grass seed further into the skin and cause more damage. Avoid feeding your pet prior to your appointment in case surgical removal is required. What not to do: Do not try to remove the grass seed yourself.
Symptoms: Symptoms present when a grass seed has travelled into the nostril are often; sneezing, difficulty breathing, nasal discharge and rubbing or pawing at face. Potential Complications: A grass seed in the nostril can cause serious damage to airways and if the seed migrates into the lung it can become a life threatening emergency. What to do: Ring your vet to make an appointment as soon as possible. Restrict exercise. Avoid feeding your pet prior to your appointment in case surgical removal is required. What not to do: Do not delay treatment.
Symptoms: Having a grass seed caught in the eye can be extremely painful for your dog, symptoms often seen are; eyes that are swollen closed, discharge from eye, visible third eyelid and some pets may paw at their eye or rub their face on the ground/furniture. Potential Complications: Ulceration of the eyes surface, if damage is severe enough eye removal can be necessary. What to do: Ring your vet to make an appointment as soon as possible. Avoid feeding your pet prior to your appointment in case surgical removal is required. What not to do: Do not delay treatment.
Symptoms: You will often an oozing lump sometimes with a visible entry hole, you may also notice your dog constantly lick at a spot on their body. Potential Complications: Infection, migration of the seed through the body. What to do: Ring your vet to make an appointment. Keep area clean with warm salty water and where possible restrain your dog from licking – this can actually push the grass seed further into the skin and cause more damage. Avoid feeding your pet prior to your appointment in case surgical removal is required. What not to do: Do not try to remove the grass seed yourself even if the tail is visible.
VULVA / PENIS
Symptoms: Difficulty urinating, blood in urine, licking at the site and redness or swelling. Potential Complications: Infection, damage to structures, invasive surgery to remove. What to do: Ring your vet to make an appointment. If possible, try to catch a fresh urine sample and bring it with you to your appointment. Avoid feeding your pet prior to your appointment in case surgical removal is required. What not to do: Do not delay treatment.
The animal’s body is not able to break down a grass seed so when a grass seed is embedded it generally requires surgical removal. In the case of surgical removal your pet will usually have a general anaesthetic whilst we extract the offending grass seeds. General Anaesthesia allows the procedure to be painless for your pet and allows your vet to thoroughly investigate the area – we usually find more than one grass seed in any given case so it is important that we are able to have a really good look. Delaying the initial vet visit may result in more invasive (and more expensive) surgeries to find and remove the seed.
Prevention is the best cure
Here are some ways you can prevent the risk of grass seeds to your dog:
Avoiding long grass when out walking/exploring (this also helps to minimise the risk of Snake Bites)
Keeping the grass in your yard tidy and mowed
Clipping the fur of long haired dogs. If your dog is prone to grass seeds in the ears or between the toes then we recommend regular clipping of these areas to keep the hair short at all times
If your pet is showing any of the above symptoms please give us a call on (02) 62302223.
Sadly, there have been multiple fatalities in dogs due to a reported Leptospirosis outbreak in Sydney recently. Here are some facts you need to know.
What is Leptospirosis?
Leptospirosis (often referred to as Lepto for short) is a bacterial infection that travels throughout the entire body via the blood stream, causing organ dysfunction/failure and internal bleeding. It can be fatal in as little as 48 hours.
What do I need to know?
Leptospirosis is a zoonotic infection which means it can affect humans too. There have been seven confirmed fatal cases in dogs so far, all of which have been reported in the Inner West suburbs of Sydney (Glebe, Surry Hills etc.)
How is it spread?
The bacteria favours warm, moist environments, ponds and stagnant water and areas exposed to flooding. The infection is often contracted when the dog is exposed to infected rodent urine in ponds or wet soil in poorly drained areas.
What can I do to minimize the risk to my dog?
We recommend avoiding taking your pets to these parts of Sydney where possible, however if your dog must travel there with you, there are vaccines available to cover them for Leptospirosis. Initially your dog will require two vaccines 2-4 weeks apart and then annual re-vaccination to maintain immunity. It is not safe to travel until the vaccination is in full effect – about 10 days after the second vaccination. Avoid any stagnant water or places where there has been flooding, keep your dog on lead when walking and DO NOT allow to swim in or drink dirty water. Again, it is advisable to arrange alternative options where possible.
If you have upcoming travel plans to Sydney with your pets please phone us on 6203 2223 for more information.
Recently there have been multiple cases of canine Parvovirus reported by veterinarians in Canberra and it’s surrounds. Parvovirus is a highly contagious and potentially fatal virus that causes extreme vomiting and diarrhoea leading to dehydration, lethargy, septicemia and even death in severe cases.
This virus can be spread directly through contact with an infected dog or through faeces or indirectly through items like water bowls, collars and leashes or the hands or clothing of people that have touched an infected dog. Parvovirus can also remain active in infected soil for years, i.e. at ovals or dog parks where an infected dog has been.
Dogs less than 1 year of age are most at risk however older un-vaccinated dogs can also contract the disease.
Most dogs will recover with aggressive supportive treatment if started early. The main focus of treatment is intravenous fluids to replace lost fluids and re-balance electrolytes, pain relief to ensure the patient remains comfortable and medication to control vomiting and nausea. Patients may require treatment in hospital for many days before recovering.
The good news is that Parvo is a preventable virus and is covered in your dog’s normal C3/C5 vaccination. We recommend that puppies have 3 vaccinations at 6-8 weeks, 10-12 weeks and 16 weeks of age. They also require a booster vaccination at around 15 months of age and then a booster every 3 years for life.
We’d like to take this opportunity to remind new puppy owners that your dog is not covered until 10 days after their second C3 vaccination and you should avoid taking your dog to public places like foot paths, dog parks and ovals until they have received all 3 vaccinations. If you are unsure of your puppy or adult dog’s vaccination status please give us a call on 6230 2223. If you notice decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea or lethargy in your pet please call your vet ASAP.